Performance data quoted represents past performance; past performance does not guarantee future results.*
There’s an old expression in investment management that “you can’t eat relative returns.” It means if you lose money, even though you beat your benchmark, those lost dollars can’t be used to buy food.
But beating the benchmark does give you more dollars to shop or invest. That makes recouping a loss easier, so relative performance does matter.
In fact, you can really only evaluate your investment performance in relative terms, comparing results to like alternatives. It’s why the Westminster Dog Show doesn’t include cats, zebras, or penguins, and awards the “best in class” by breed. There is an overall “best in show” which picks the winner from among the best in class winners, which is a bit like always including the S&P 500 (which we do below) since it gives everyone a common point of reference across asset classes and breeds.
As we wrote throughout 2022, we weren’t happy with a negative return, though the Fund did recover a bit as the year came to a close. We were happy that our -1.70% return for the year outpaced the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index (LBUSTRUU) which lost 13.01%, the Bloomberg High Yield Bond Index (LF98TRUU) which lost 11.19%, and the S&P 500 which was down 19.95%.
SOLRX vs. Other Benchmarks data represented is January 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022. LBUSTRUU is the fund’s official benchmark other indexes are included for illustrative purposes. Performance data quoted represents past performance; past performance does not guarantee future results.*
SOLRX is a fixed income fund focusing on public and private solar credit. It includes elements of both investment grade and non-investment grade bonds. That is why we compared it here to the Bloomberg Agg and the Bloomberg HY index.
We subscribed from January 1st to the old adage “don’t fight the fed.” While the markets ignored Chairman Powell’s clear guidance that the Fed would raise interest rates, we invested stayed in short maturities and prudently in credit. Not only did SOLRX outperform benchmarks but did so with much lower volatility and fewer wild swings in price.
As we’ve noted, we believe we have maintained a very high-quality portfolio. The downside of this was the lack of yield generation. The upside was principal preservation. As 2022 came to a close, we, like many others, did see an underlying strength in the economy and began to deploy capital. This coincided with increased private credit deal flow, growing the yield from a mid-year 2.00% to 5.02% at year-end. As our more conservative investments have continued to mature the yield at the end of January was 6.38%.
We specifically structured SOLRX as an interval fund in order to invest in private assets which are less liquid than publicly traded securities. In our view, private investing has several benefits:
- fewer investors chasing – although it means that it requires that much more work on our part performing the credit analysis and due diligence on the underlying assets
- ability to structure terms which fit our portfolio needs -public securities are what they are
- generally higher yields to compensate for both the extra effort to diligence as well as the lack of liquidity.
Our narrow focus on solar assets and the green economy allows us to better understand the nuances and dynamics of the sector and have access to deal flow. That deal flow is critical when investing in private assets. Our portfolio construction aims to balance liquidity, yield, risk, and diversification.
As the Fund continues to gather assets, we continue to see both residential and commercial deal flow. This allows us to strive for better diversification while improving the Fund’s yield. We remain cautious that the recent market rallies signal anticipation of a nearly flawless “soft landing” by the Fed – we’re not quite so optimistic. In either case, the strength of our underlying assets should soften the impacts of rising market yields or widening credit spreads.
Our bearishness at the start of 2022 has evolved to cautiousness as we begin 2023.
While the economic landscape is still quite uncertain, investors are now getting paid for that uncertainty. The six-month Treasury bill yielded 18 basis points (0.18%) to start 2022. It yielded 470 basis points (4.70%) to start 2023. That’s 4.50% more annually for the same risk (one could argue less risk given that inflation is flat to perhaps declining now whereas it was on an upward trajectory to begin 2022).
The improvement in asset yield in the solar space has been even more dramatic. Our review of our deal pipeline has seen residential solar loan yields have move from the 4.00% range at the start of 2022 to the 9.00% range in Q4 2022 and private assets from 8.00% range to a couple recent purchases at 15.00% in the same time period.
This environment renews our optimism for the performance of SOLRX as we strive daily to be Best in Class.
Very truly yours,
David Krestschmer & Kevin Conroy
*The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance of the fund may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month end may be obtained by calling 844-4-FINITE or www.finite.io.
LBUSTRUU Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index (LBUSTRUU) is a broad-based index that measures the investment grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market and is a commonly used benchmark for the broad investment grade market.
LF98TRUU Bloomberg Barclays US Corporate High Yield Total Return Index The Index provides investors with broad exposure to U.S. high yield bonds.
S&P 500 TR Index SPX The S&P 500 index covers the 500 largest companies that are in the United States. These companies can vary across various sectors. The S&P 500 is one of the most important indices in the world as it widely tracks how the United States stock market is performing.
Investors should carefully consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. This and other important information about the Fund is in the prospectus which can be obtained by contacting your financial advisor or by calling 844‐4‐FINITE. The prospectus should be read carefully before investing.
Current and future holdings are subject to change and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell a security.
The Finite Solar Finance Fund is distributed by Foreside Fund Services, LLC. SOLRX is a closed end interval fund.
An investment in the Fund is not suitable for investors who need certainty about their ability to access all of the money they invest in the short term. You may not have access to the money you invest for an extended period of time.
The Fund has implemented a Share repurchase program, however, the Fund is not required to repurchase more than 5% of its outstanding Shares each quarter. Shares will not be redeemable at a Shareholder’s option nor will they be exchangeable for Shares of any other fund. Investors should therefore consider Shares of the Fund to be an illiquid investment. You should not expect to be able to sell your Shares (other than through the repurchase process), regardless of how the Fund performs.
Because you will be unable to sell your Shares at the time of your choosing or have them repurchased immediately, you will find it difficult to reduce your exposure on a timely basis during market volatility.
Although the Fund is not permitted to invest in loans that are of subprime quality at the time of investment, an investment in the Fund’s Shares should be considered speculative and involving a substantial degree of risk, including the risk of loss of investment. There can be no assurance that payments due on loans or other alternative lending‐related securities in which the Fund will invest will be made.
At any given time, the Fund’s portfolio may be substantially illiquid and subject to increased credit and default risk. The Shares therefore should be purchased only by investors who could afford the loss of the entire amount of their investment.
The Fund intends to accrue and declare dividends daily and distribute them on a quarterly basis; however, the amount of distributions that the Fund may pay, if any, is uncertain. The Fund may pay distributions in significant part from sources that may not be available in the future and that are unrelated to the Fund’s performance, such as from offering proceeds, and borrowings. A portion or all of any distribution of the Fund may consist of a return of capital and may result in potentially adverse tax consequences to the Fund or its shareholders.
The Fund’s distribution policy could result in a return of capital, resulting in less of a shareholder’s assets being invested in the Fund and, over time, potentially causing the Fund’s expense ratio to increase.
The distribution policy also may cause the Fund to sell a security at a time it would not otherwise do so
If the borrower of the loan or other alternative lending‐related security in which the Fund invests is unable to make its payments on a loan, the Fund may be greatly limited in its ability to recover any outstanding principal and interest due under such loan, as (among other reasons) the Fund may not have direct recourse against the borrower or may otherwise be limited in its ability to directly enforce its rights under the loan, whether through the borrower or the platform through which such loan was originated, the loan may be unsecured or undercollateralized, and/or it may be impracticable to commence a legal proceeding against the defaulting borrower.
Substantially all of the Solar Assets in which the Fund invests will not be guaranteed or insured by a third party or will not be backed by any governmental authority.
Prospective borrowers supply a variety of information regarding income, occupation and employment status (as applicable) to the alternative lending platforms that may originate or source loans. As a general matter, platforms do not verify the majority of this information, which may be incomplete, inaccurate, false or misleading. Prospective borrowers may misrepresent any of the information they provide to the platforms.
Under the 1940 Act, the Fund may utilize leverage through the issuance of preferred stock in an amount up to 50% of its total assets and/or through borrowings and/or the issuance of notes or debt securities in an aggregate amount of up to 33 1/3% of its total assets which could magnify losses as well as gains.. There can be no assurance that any leveraging strategy the Fund employs will be successful during any period in which it is employed.
The estimated gross expense ratio is 2.51%. Expense ratios are annualized and calculated as a percentage of estimated average total assets.